The interplay between task difficulty and microsaccade rate: Evidence for the critical role of visual load
In previous research, microsaccades have been suggested as psychophysiological indicators of task load. So far, it is still under debate how different types of task demands are influencing microsaccade rate. This piece of research examines the relation between visual load, mental load and microsaccade rate. Fourteen participants carried out a continuous performance task (n-back), in which visual (letters vs. abstract figures) and mental task load (1-back to 4-back) were manipulated as within-subjects variables. Eye tracking data, performance data as well as subjective workload were recorded. Data analysis revealed an increased level of microsaccade rate for stimuli of high visual demand (i.e. abstract figures), while mental demand (n-back-level) did not modulate microsaccade rate. In conclusion, the present results suggest that microsaccade rate reflects visual load of a task rather than its mental load.
Copyright (c) 2021 Andrea Schneider, Andreas Sonderegger, Eva Krueger, Quentin Meteier, Patrick Luethold, Alain Chavaillaz
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